Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Putting Up Peaches

I've just finished putting up peaches for the year and thought I'd share a quick picture tutorial for those of you who might want to learn.  I can peaches and I freeze peaches. Let's start with canning. I use the raw pack method.

Pick or purchase your peaches - make sure they are without blemishes, ripe and of course, flavorful and juicy!

Wash them to remove dirt, dust and the peach fuzz...seems like this year they were extra fuzzy!

As I wash each peach I put them in a colander to wait for the "dipping".

Get a very large pot of water boiling.  I use my "pasta pot".  It has an insert with holes so that you can put whatever you want to cook into hot water and pull it up again without dumping the hot water.
Here are the peaches in the insert.

Here is the bottom portion of the pot filled with hot water.  I'm waiting for it to boil.  You know that old saying that a "watched pot never boils".  I think it's true - it took forever to boil!

While you are waiting for the water to boil.  Fill a sink with ice water.  It really needs to be ice water to help your peaches slip their skins. You will also make a syrup - the Ball Blue book has recipes for syrup from light to heavy.  It's just a combination of water and sugar - easy!  You will need this to be hot when you begin putting your peaches into jars.

You are going to "dip" your peaches in boiling water for 1 minute....just like tomatoes! The Ball Blue Book says to dip your peaches for 30 to 60 seconds.  I found that it really took 60 seconds for this to work.  I lowered the part of the pot containing the peaches into the boiling water for 60 seconds.  Use a timer!  Once that timer rings, take the peaches out of the boiling water (let the hot water drain off of them so you aren't adding hot water to your ice water) and drop the peaches in the ice water.

While they are sitting in ice water for a few minutes, get your next batch ready to go into the boiling water.

Take the peaches out of the ice water and put into a bowl.  Now they are ready to peel and slice.

Look how easy the skins slip off - most of the time all I had to do was to rub my thumb against the peach!


Slice and prepare to can according to directions.  When canning peaches, be sure to scrape out the red fibers - they can turn dark if you don't and your peaches won't be as pretty. As you slice, you also need to treat them so the air doesn't cause them to turn dark. The Ball Blue book gives you the instructions for making a dip of water and Vitamin C. I just sprinkled with lemon juice and tossed.

You can halve your peaches or slice them. I did a few jars of halves but sliced the rest.

You will place your peaches into jars, cover them with the hot syrup you made, check for air bubbles, wipe the rims of your jars, add your ring and seal - you know the drill!  Check your canning book for details!

You will process them in a water bath canner.  Quarts are processed for 30 minutes.

Aren't they pretty?  And so easy to do!

I actually prefer frozen peaches for many dishes.  So, although I do can some of them, I freeze most of them.  This is also quicker and easier to do.  

I don't like to slip skins of the peaches I am going to freeze because the process "cooks" a thin outer layer of the peaches.  This doesn't matter if you are canning them where they are essentially "cooked" in the canner!

For frozen peaches,  I wash them and then peel them with a knife - if the peaches are ripe this process goes pretty quickly. Then I slice them and toss the slices into a large bowl. As I add a "layer" of peaches to the bowl, I sprinkle fresh lemon juice over the peaches and a light sprinkling of sugar. This helps them to create their own "syrup" and helps prevent them from getting brown from the air exposure.  I then place them into quart baggies and freeze.

Yummy!  I see peach pies, cobblers, crisps, fruit salads, peaches over vanilla ice cream and more this winter!

Please be sure to check your favorite canning book and follow the directions for canning your peaches!

Peaches were selling in our area for 98 cents a pound.  However you could purchase a 30 lb. basket for $16.00!  Your home canned peaches will be much cheaper than purchasing the same amount of canned peaches at the grocery store.  They will taste better too! And if you have a couple of peach trees, like we do, your savings will go even further!  We don't get a lot of peaches from our trees, and some years we don't get any, but every little bit helps!  If you have the room, and live in the right area, I encourage you to plant a couple of peach trees and look forward to reaping the rewards in the future.

Happy Canning!

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